tv [untitled] June 16, 2011 9:00pm-9:30pm PDT
>> hello and welcome to me your district supervisor. we're here with supervisors got scott wiener. he started his first term this january. we are going to get to know him and talk about the issues facing the city. welcome. thank you for joining us today. tell us about your background, where you grew up, went to school, and what kind of jobs to have had. >> i grew up in the philadelphia area, in new jersey. i went to school up and down the east coast. i went to undergrad at duke university. i went to law school at harvard. after clerking for a judge, i came out here in 1997. i have been here for the last 14
years. i have always lived in the castro. i am an attorney. i started out in private practice. i settle private law firm during complex commercial litigation. in 2002, and moved over to the sentences the city attorney's office where i worked on the trial team doing trials for the city, handling my own cases, and supervising a team of attorneys as well. >> why did you choose to live in san francisco? >> i always assumed i would go back to the philadelphia area since that is where my family is. i was always interested in san francisco in terms of what it is as a city, its culture, it's amazing lgbt community. i came out here for a summer, fell in love with it. i have been interested in politics since i was a kid. i worked on campaigns as a teenager. i was involved campaign against
senator jesse helms when i was in college. when i cannot hear, and was not initially involved politically. -- when i came out here, i was not initially involved politically. i helped to build the lgbt community center. i started doing campaigns. i gradually got involved in democratic party politics. i got involved in the alice b. toklas democratic club. i ran for the democratic central committee in 2004. i ended up sharing the committee. it was a gradual process for me. by the time i started thinking about running for supervisor, it made sense because of my involvement in the community and in politics. >> what did you learn from campaigning for supervisor? >> i learned a lot. i knocked on about $15,000. -- i knocked about 15,000 doors.
i met a huge number of people. that is the best way to learn about the neighborhood, the city, and what people want and what their concerns are. i feel i can do so much more than before and started campaigning. -- i feel like i know so much more than before i started campaigning. we're all part of the left on the national standard. i am a good liberal democrat. in the san francisco spectrum, and probably considered more middle of the road. -- i am probably considered more middle-of-the-road. i am very independently comes to the issues. i do not vote the party line. a judge each issue on its merits. that is how i am. >> what do you feel are some of the biggest issues facing san francisco now? >> the budget is the most imminent issue. we do have a structural budget
deficit in the city. we need to deal with the short- term balancing of the budget in a way that does not decimate basic city services that people rely on but also to address our long term structural budget deficit. that means implementing budget reforms that will smooth out the budget process so that it is not a boom-bust process. that means reforming our pension and retiree system so that they are stable and do not drain the general fund. that is a big aspect of it. another huge issue is the deferred maintenance on our infrastructure. we have a lot of infrastructure that has been deteriorating because we have not maintained properly. that includes roads, sewer systems, muni. we need to be much more diligent about maintaining our infrastructure. some of the big citywide issues
that impact the district include transportation. we had more muni service and some other districts. it is not always reliable. some of the major bus lines in the district are not reliable. we have major projects like the renovation of delores park. it is an opportunity to define what the park is and what changes we want to make to it. that is going to be and port project, the same thing with glen canyon that is going to undergo a lot of work. one of the most challenging parts of the new district supervisor is that we elect the supervisors by district. it is very important to pay attention to the district, be engaged in the projects in the district. we also represent the whole city. any district supervisor that
focuses on the district without addressing the citywide issues is not doing his or her job. every day, i make sure i am working on the major citywide issues and the district issues. i try to be disciplined about that. >> how will you approach the tough choices? >> i think we have to start by looking at the most critical city services that we cannot do without. what are the ones that if they deteriorated, we will pay the price on? public safety falls into that category as a basic critical service. transportation, making sure we have the functional muni is critical. core public health services like
dealing with mental on this on our streets -- with mental illness on our streets. if we do not provide services, we will pay the price. it works out from there in terms of budget priorities. >> with your plans on dealing with homelessness? >> it is homelessness in general and behavior on the streets. we need to make sure people have access to services. i was a supporter of putting the money we taking the money we're putting into the system to provide housing. we need to make sure people have access to services. we need to make sure that we have standards of behavior on our streets. most homeless people did not cause any problems on our streets. they are a small group the causing problems. we need to make sure we have the standards of behavior. there are some kinds of behavior
that are not ok and they need to report that. . she mentioned housing needs. what are the housing needs? how should the board of supervisors address these? >> there are a few different areas we need to address. housing affordability or lack there of is a major challenge for the city. it is harder to afford housing in the city if you are lower or middle income. we need to address that. i want to focus on work force housing. we do a good job of generating high in housing. we can always do better. we do a decent job providing low-income housing. we do a terrible job providing housing for lower middle class and middle-class people, people who are working and paying taxes.
we need to have them here for a functioning economy. i am looking for ways to fund more of that kind of housing, particularly for a central employees like teachers, nurses, first responders. we need to make sure that our development is a transit- oriented. we do not want to encourage suburban sprawl. we want to do infill housing so that people can live near where they work and near public transportation. >> let's talk about public transportation. is there adequate muni service in your district? what is the parking and traffic situation like? >> muni is not near where it needs to be. in the caster, we have the subway. -- in the castro, we have the subway. a can be terrific or frustrating. we are next to the bart line.
in other parts of the district, is unreliable. the writeridership is lower bece of unreliability. other lines are not as frequent and people not think of using them. we have a particular problem in diamond heights. the neighborhood is served primarily by the 52 line. it is incredibly unreliable. the buses miss runs-------. for awhile, muni was ending service at 9:00 or 10:00 at night. it is up on a hill. without service, it is isolated. another thing i am working on is trying to get more taxis onto
the street. a world-class taxi system is a complement to any public transportation system. >> how do you think the police department is doing? do you have any thoughts on how the city is dealing with crime? >> i was a big supporter of chief gaston. i think he will do a great job in the district attorney's office. part of me was sad to see him go from the police department. he had come in and started modernizing the department. it's technology -- a lot of different changes that needed to happen but were not happening until he came in and start of the department on the right path. it is critical that whoever the next chief of police is continue that modernization of the department. it will have benefits citywide. in my district, we have public safety challenges. the district is often viewed as
a "safe district." we do have violence. we had a bunch of violence around delores park last year. there have been robberies in glen park and parts of the valley. there have been shootings in diamond heights. one of the challenges is making sure that the police department understands that even though we may not have the same crime levels as some neighborhoods, we still need attention from the police department. >> let's talk about the city's economic development. are we on the right track? what would you like to change about the approach to developing the economy? >> we are getting better. the city as got more proactive about attracting businesses and new industries and providing incentives for them to come and stay here.
it is still a very expensive place to do business in terms of the cost of labor, land. we need to make sure that we are not taxing businesses to the point that it is not profitable and we are not attractive for them to be here. we need to reform our payroll tax. that is an incentive not to create jobs. i know the board president david chu is working on possibility this there -- possibilities there. i look forward to working with him. we've targeted efforts to revitalize areas and bring industries here with the tax holiday and proposal introduced yesterday relating to parts of the tenderloin to provide some payroll tax relief to encourage businesses like twitter and
others to go there. >> the governor has proposed eliminating funding for redevelopment agencies. what is your opinion of the plan? what are your thoughts on the value of redevelopment agencies? >> i think the plan is over- broad. i do not support it as it relates to san francisco's model of redevelopment. our redevelopment agency does tremendous work in san francisco. a lot of projects like treasure island and what is happening in hunters point, those kinds of projects would be difficult to achieve without redevelopment. a redevelopment agency is the largest source of affordable housing creation in the city. it has been a huge asset. i understand there are other parts of the state where redevelopment has a different model and is not as positive.
there are types of unwise development. redevelopment statewide is in need of reform. san francisco is a model for redevelopment and it needs to stay intact. >> let's talk about the role of sports. are you happy with the plans for the america's cup? should the city spend money to keep the 49ers'? >> i am thrilled about the america's cup. it will not just be an economic boom that creates jobs and long- term economic development. it will help us shore up our aging and deterioration appears -- deteriorateing piers. it will help us clear of deferred maintenance. it will be a promotion for the city. people will see the panoramic views of san francisco and want to come here.
i would very much like to see forty-niners stay here. what that means, we will have to talk about it. i am not a big fan of massive public subsidies to sports teams. i think we should work hard to keep them here. >> we're almost out of time. are there any other issues or concerns we have not discussed? are there any other specific issues you plan to concentrate on throughout your turn? >> a couple that come to mind. i introduced in control legislation to make it easier for tenants displaced by fires or earthquakes or other disasters to find below market replacement meant -- rent while their apartments are being fixed. there are some aspects of our rent control laws that make it difficult to find those kinds of
temporary accommodations at below market rent. i have been working with groups on legislation that introduced that will help there. i have also requested an economic impact study to be performed on the entertainment and nightlife industries. it is a very important economic and cultural sector in our city. we have never really taken a look at what it contributes to our economy. i think that is an important piece of information to have to guide policy making in the future. i have requested a hearing on the impact of historic preservation of other important policy goals in the city like creating affordable housing, having usable parks and libraries, etc. i want to look at how those different policies interact with each other. those are a few things i am working on. >> we are out of time. we will have to wrap this up. thank you so much for joining
supervisor chu: thank you very much, president chiu. i wanted to emphasize what supervisor cohen, and this is the same conversation we have had with the nominee, and i look forward to seeing mr. ramos and the conversations and the balance he has expressed to me, and also recognizing some of the challenges that different neighborhoods might have with having accessible transportation, usage of cars and how is he would balance that, given multiple demands there might be, such as large families among other things. so i look forward to that conversation. my parents immigrated to the united states about 30 years ago, and that probably was the most formative part of my background. growing up in an immigrant family, you learn many things. my parents raised me in southern california, and i grew up in the restaurant business. they had a small restaurant at the time, and i was there every weekend working, and it taught me the value of working hard and
what it meant to be part of a small business, a small family, and an immigrant family at that. growing up in an atmosphere in being impacted by the los angeles riots when it did occur. we were always worried watching the news to see whether or not the restaurant would be looted, whether it would go up in fire, so it was something that was a big concern and worry for my family at the time. i remember thinking even at that age how important it was to consider what the economics were in communities, whether people had or felt that they had opportunities or did not have opportunities, and what role it was that government played in those outcomes. >> [inaudible] supervisor chu: that is what really put me on the path to public policy. so i pursued public policy both at occidental college where i went to school as an undergrad, and also uc berkeley where i pursued public policy.
i work on public finance for a while after i graduated and came back to government to really pursue that. ever since then, i have stayed here and fallen in love with how wonderful the bay area is. it is a really great place to be. all around the room, you will see a lot of great financial institutions. talk to them. you will see people who can help you with financial aid. talk to them. he will see departments that might have summer job opportunities. talk to them. utilize your opportunities today. learn a little bit about what you should be thinking about in the future. generally, a very practical legislator. i like to look at what the impacts of legislation would be before really voting on it, so i think, depending on the issue, you can move around, and that should be the way most people think, which is let's consider the facts of legislation before you actually consider it,
irrespective of what spectrum it comes from and what spectrum it is perceived to be. sunset district is a great district. has many residents who are families. we have a lot of families in our district. lots of kids, seniors, people who have raised their families there for many generations. the big issue moving people is the state of the economy. how is it that we are going to be able to bring down the unemployment rate in san francisco? how is it that our future generations, our kids, and our youth are trained so they are able to take advantage of what is emerging? whether that is clean technology, technology in general, the health-care industry or other things that might be looking rosier in terms of future economic activity. thank you. today, i am very happy to have
come with you all and to bike in today. i was able to ride a bike that had a two-person seat on it. i was in the back, and we both paddle together, and one thing i wanted to say is if you bike to school or anywhere, make sure to always wear a helmet. make sure to be safe, and of course, have fun, right? in terms of interesting jobs, this has to be one of the most interesting jobs. you work on a whole host of issues all year round, and you meet so many interesting people around the way, so i really enjoyed that.
within our population there are people who simply do not have access to the internet, who do not have the means to access information the way that others have, and i think that it's really imperative for government to make sure that we play a role in closing that technological divide. so you have to strike that balance between maintaining that character, but also welcoming in the new people who bring their own -- >> absolutely. >> so i love that. i love that mix, that balance that comes with it. it's hard to strike the right balance, but -- >> it really is. >> but it's there. >> i was born in guatemala and came to this country as a kid. i was brought here by my parents. and essentially grew up in l.a. and then moved up to the bay area, where i went to college. i went to stanford. my background for the first few years out of school was a
practicing attorney. i worked for -- in the private sector for a number of years and then i went and worked for the city as a deputy city attorney and then became general council of the school district here in san francisco, and through that became involved in politics and at some point decided to run for office. [speaking spanish] >> i think that san francisco really represents the best that this country has to offer. it's a place that welcomes people from all over the world,
from all over the country, and it's a place that not only tolerates, but actually embraces diversity, a place that is very forward thinking in terms of how it looks at issues. it always felt like home, and i felt that as a gala tino man that this -- gay la taken no man, that this is a place where i could be happy. now doing the job of a supervisor has been the most rewarding experience. it is really remarkable how amazing our neighborhoods are, how amazing its people are. i have a progressive outlook in terms of how i see things, and by progressive i mean we have to make government and make the city work for everyone, and that means that it's not just those who are doing well, it's also those who are not doing so well, those who have the least. but it also means making sure that the city works for the middle class. >> good evening, everyone. good evening. thank you all for being here. and when we first got into office about two years ago, we started talking to the mayor's office of workforce and
economic development and trying to figure out how we can help different corridors within our district have a better sense of what that neighborhood should look like, what its main concerns and priorities should be and a strategy for the community. and that means business, residents and the city working together to make whatever that vision is a reality. ultimately if there is a guidance on how i approach government, i believe in good government, i believe in transparency, i believe in accountability, i believe in making sure that we follow best practices. i think that oftentimes transcends the left, the middle and the right. it goes beyond that. and that's why as a supervisor i focus so much on contracts and how the city spends its money, which is not traditionally a progressive
issue. but i believe that we have an obligation to make every penny count. thank you. [applause] we are still going through a very tough economic time. we are still not where we need to be in terms of job creation and economic development. so government, i think, has to work with a lot of different folks, not only the business community, but also the community groups to see how we can create economic development that works for every san franciscans. >> one of the topics is -- [inaudible] >> as a member of the police commission, i learned that the most effective policing is the policing where you have the police and the